Orissa argues against Polavaram dam

Bhubaneswar: Strongly objecting to the construction of multi-purpose Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh, the Orissa government has drawn the attention of the Supreme Court-appointed expert committee to four different aspects of the project, including the design, officials said today.

The state government along with neighbouring Chhattisgarh in a joint memorandum to the expert committee, headed by Gopalkrishna, said that the Polavaram project would adversely affect the two states if its design was not changed, said Water Resource secretary Suresh Mohapatra.

While Polavaram project was initially made with a capacity for flow of 36 lakh cusecs, it was later increased to 50 lakh cusecs after changing its original design, he said.

The state government, represented during a spot verification by the committee at the project site by engineer-in-chief Harish Behera, said the proposed embankment in a river in Orissa, would lead to the submergence of many tribal villages in Malkangiri district.

Besides, Behera also pointed out that the mandatory palli sabha (village council) meeting was not held in areas likely to be affected due to the project. "Therefore, we have every reason to oppose the project," Behera said.

Earlier, the state government had moved the Supreme Court seeking a halt to the Polavaram project as it was allegedly being constructed by violating several laws and an agreement between Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.